COUTUREtime 2019: Grand Seiko Debuts An Impressive Lineup Of US-Only Timepieces Inspired By The Four Seasons
It’s safe to say that the most exciting story to come out of the COUTUREtime show in Las Vegas was the introduction of four new, seasonally-themed timepieces from Grand Seiko. This quartet is composed of two Spring Drive and two Hi Beat models. Let's go hands-on!
Even though the collection was created exclusively for the American market, everything about this stunning series — from design to finish — honors the way Japan celebrates its seasons and the ever-changing expression of the natural world.
The Grand Seiko Four Seasons collection doesn’t hit stores until the fall, but Watchonista got a chance to examine these pieces bloom in the Nevada desert. Here’s the first look for you.
Before walking us through their garden of delights, the Grand Seiko team noted that because of the country’s geography and their culture’s close connection to nature, Japan actually has 24 sekki (micro-seasons). But to recognize the special relationship between the US and Japan, these distinct climate changes have been distilled into four.
So let's start with Spring. This timepiece has a subtle pink dial that evokes the graceful Sakura "Cherry Blossom" petals that bloom in Spring. Tied to Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness, and living in the present, Sakura blossoms are a metaphor for human existence.
Just as people travel thousands of miles to view the vibrant but fleeting Cherry blossom displays in Washington DC, the brilliance of the Sakura Dial is something that must be seen in person, and under the natural light of the sun. And of course, it's powered by Grand Seiko's emblematic Spring Drive movement.
SUMMER OF '67
Summer always makes us nostalgic for family road trips, old songs and lazy, hazy days in general. With this series, Grand Seiko also pays tribute to its past, specifically the iconic 62GS – the revolutionary automatic timepiece launched in 1967.
All of the four seasons collection watches come in a new case inspired by the 62GS signature mirrored, multi-sided, and bezel-free case. No bezel allows for a wider dial opening. And it is finished with Grand Seiko’s signature “Zarathustra” polishing.
For the Summer variation, the dial has a deep green dial, recalling the lush flora and grasses. As always, Grand Seiko provides Easter Eggs in the dial details. In this case, look close, and you'll notice a horizontal brushing that evokes the landscape of fields. It is all designed to evoke the energy and dynamism of life.
A side note: the design of all the watches in this collection represents a new case production. So that even though they are not limited edition, they will be limited in availability for the time being.
The vibrant blue dial of this variation is meant to recall the color of the night sky in autumn. Subtle vertical brushwork suggests moonlight falling from the heavens.
Fall is also a season of harvest when we all have to work a little harder to reap the benefits of nature's bounty.
Another note: Both the summer and fall editions of this Grand Seiko are powered by the brand’s traditional and powerful mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 movement. This dynamic and precise caliber is a thing of beauty on its own.
The silvery white dial of the final piece in the Four Seasons collection represents the crystalline surface of what the Japanese call “Deep Snow.”
As we mentioned earlier, the Japanese further divide spring, summer, fall, and winter into early, mid-, and late periods. In literature, each of these time periods has a “kigo” word that describes the subtle changes of each sekki. It’s very poetic. So is this collection.
Winter, like Spring, is driven by a Grand Seiko spring drive movement. Both also come in a titanium case while Summer and Fall are housed in stainless steel.
The price across the board is $6,300 for each model. The cost is balanced by the value of the mechanisms and the case materials. For the completionist kind of collector, Grand Seiko hopes to have a box set available as well. Because who wouldn’t want to be a man (or woman) for all seasons?
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)